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$35M funding supports ambitious international ocean research project


Ottawa, ON – Funding of $35 million funding has been awarded to Dalhousie University by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The award will provide infrastructure and operating funds for the creation of a $160-million Ocean Tracking Network.

Headquartered at Dalhousie University in Halifax, the network will unite marine scientists around the world in a comprehensive examination of marine life and ocean conditions. The project will consist of installing cutting-edge, made-in-Canada tracking technology at strategic locations in 14 ocean regions on all seven continents.

The network will allow researchers to record the movement and behaviour of fish and other marine life as well as monitor ocean characteristics, such as water depth, temperatures, and chemistry. The project will also include a social sciences component that will shed light on the international social and legal framework of oceans.

The resulting data will provide invaluable new insight into marine management practices, and will determine how life-sustaining ocean conditions are changing in response to climate change. Never before has collecting oceanic data on such a grand scale been contemplated.

The CFIs $35-million investment is provided through the International Joint Venture Project, a collaborative initiative that involved partnership with the major Canadian federal funding agencies: NSERC, SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and Genome Canada. It will be supplemented by additional investments of up to $10 million from NSERC and an initial grant of $327,500 from SSHRC. Funding was approved following a rigorous merit review process that was overseen by all partners in the initiative.

“The oceans of the world influence all life on this planet,” said Dr Suzanne Fortier, the president of NSERC. “Given that Canada has a direct interest in three oceans, I am especially pleased that NSERC is collaborating with the CFI to support world-leading researchers in the marine sciences.”